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18th Apr 13Managed by Chatham House
Financed by DEFRA
Grimsby fish companies set sights on Indonesia
Grimsby's bid to establish a seafood trade corridor has taken a major step forward following a visit to South East Asia by a number of South Humber fishing related companies.
The Grimsby Institute of Further and Higher Education, which is hoping to cement the bridgehead within the next 12 months, took senior executives from the fish transport and shipping firm Samskip, the seafood box company Cool Blue and the transport company Quayside Distribution on a fact finding mission to Indonesia.
They met government representatives and local fishing leaders including boat owners for talks about bringing over tuna and prawns in particular - but other species could be on the menu. Currently, Japan is the country's biggest customer for tuna and shellfish.
The Grimsby Institute principal professor, Daniel Khan described it as a highly successful visit.
"It was more than a fact finding mission - we now have to prepare a business plan and try to get this trade corridor up and running within the next 12 months," he said.
"I am certain that it can be successful."
Although not yet directly linked, he thought it could provide a big boost for the proposed international Humber Seafood Exchange when that gets up and running within the next two or three years. There is also the possibility of collaborative projects.
"The Humber Seafood Exchange project was discussed, but it is not yet part of our plan because it has still be built. But I am certain that the Grimsby Institute and the new Humber Seafood Institute will be able to provide Indonesia with training and expertise in return."
Professor Khan said the important priority was to establish a supply chain link between Grimsby and Indonesia, one of Asia's most important fishing countries.
Despite the huge potential, the Indonesian fishing industry continues to rely on traditional methods and equipment. Some of the fishing vessels have yet to be motorised, although many are being converted despite soaring fuel costs. The country has around 270,000 coastal vessels.
In recent years, however, the supply of fish has been threatened by illegal fishing from foreign vessels - mainly Japan, China, Taiwan and the Philippines. It is estimated that up to 5,000 illegals boats enter the country's fishing grounds every year, but the Indonesian government is now trying to combat the problem.
Prawns are an important export and are increasingly raised on massive coastal farms capable of bringing in large amounts of export earnings. Indonesian prawn exports exceeded almost two billion US dollars, a significant portion of total agriculture exports.
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